Archive for the ‘Champions League’ Category

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Apart from all of the money which is thrown at him on a regular basis, is José Mourinho really getting the recognition he deserves for his achievements?

Leaving aside all his trophies, both domestic and in Europe, with his previous clubs. Leaving aside his transforming of struggling clubs such as Chelsea and Inter Milan, both of which he turned into title winners and leaving aside his record of being only the fifth manager to have won the title in four different countries, we sometimes wonder what he has to do to please some people. (more…)

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Wednesday night went off with a bit of a whimper in the Champion’s League. Over in Azerbaijan, Chelsea did what was expected of them by comfortably beating Qarabag by four goals to nil.

This stroll in the park meant that Antonio Conte could spend the overnight flight home plotting Liverpool’s downfall in the weekend’s “big” game.

This exercise probably only required about five minutes as the tactics are relatively straightforward. Providing you can stop Liverpool scoring at your end, they will likely allow you to score some at their end!

So he had a good sleep for the rest of the flight dreaming, no doubt, of reaching the Champion’s League final and beating Juventus to collect the trophy. Dream on, Antonio! (more…)

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Another good night was had in Europe on Tuesday by the majority of the English clubs. Manchester City clawed their way to a 1-0 victory over Feyenoord which confirms their winning of the group, Tottenham continued to display their new found maturity, particularly in European competition, by winning in Dortmund and Liverpool, well, they continue to be just Liverpool!

The plucky little scousers managed to snatch a draw from the jaws of victory having suffered a second-half collapse similar to that of AC Milan in the Ataturk Stadium back in 2005.

So Tottenham have won their group if they can take a point from their final game and Liverpool will guarantee qualification with a point from their final game. (more…)

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Tomorrow night sees the return to Champion’s League action of Manchester United and Chelsea. What is required and how will they approach their games?

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This is a game from which Manchester United only require one point, that would be enough to guarantee qualification to the knockout stages.

It is, however, a dangerous game playing for a draw and Mourinho is well known for setting up his teams, particularly in European away games, not to lose. (more…)

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Liverpool go to Spain needing at least a point from the game. That would keep them top of the group by a point. Sevilla would remain in second providing Spartak Moscow don’t beat Maribor. If that happens then the Moscow club would be second on goal difference.

A loss for Liverpool, whilst not terminal, is certainly a major spanner in the works. That result would see Sevilla go top and, again assuming a Moscow victory, would see Spartak join the Merseysiders on eight points, remaining behind only on goal difference.

Then everything would be about the final games and Liverpool’s qualification would hang in the balance. (more…)

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This may come as a surprise to all the devotees of Manchester United and José Mourinho, but, as we sit here at WSA Towers in our suite of luxury offices, (long-term lease only), we have reached the conclusion that Gareth Bale is not on the manager’s wish-list.

You remember the wish-list? That was the test Mourinho set for Dithering Ed back in March and, even with five months revision time, Ed only managed to score 75%. He bought Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matić. The one he missed, as everybody knows, was Ivan Perišić of Inter Milan and the story goes that it was because he wouldn’t go the extra four or five million that would have pushed the deal over the line. (more…)

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It is now five years since Chelsea, after very fortuitous wins in the semi-final and final, won the Champion’s League. Had they not had that good fortune back in 2012, then it would have been nine years since an English club last won the trophy, that being Manchester United, on penalties, against Chelsea.

Since that Chelsea victory England has had at least four representatives every season with only Manchester City, who reached the semi-final in 2016 under Manuel Pellegrini, getting anywhere near the final. (more…)

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Tuesday night turned out to be a night of mixed fortunes for the English clubs in the Champion’s League, as Manchester United beat Benfica to virtually assure their qualification and Chelsea were soundly beaten by Roma in a dreadful performance.

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José Mourinho resisted any temptation to play a weakened team even with Sunday’s game against Chelsea looming large in the rear-view mirror.

The idea was to ensure that qualification was guaranteed before the next game in the competition when, thanks to the win against Benfica, he will be able to rest players. (more…)

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Five of the big six return to Champion’s League action this week with all of them in a good position to qualify.

The only ones not in a good position to progress to the next phase of this season’s competition are Arsenal, mainly because they are not in it.

They are, however, in a good spot in the Europa League, a competition in which they find themselves competing for the first time in 137 years. (more…)

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Tuesday night saw Manchester City take on Napoli at The Etihad. As has often been the case this season they started like an express train and were soon two goals up. It looked for all the world as though they were going to score four or more goals again.

Unusually though, for City anyway, they laboured a little in trying to find a third goal and it was actually Napoli who should have scored but Mertens penalty was straight down the middle, a route whereby the ball will often catch the goalkeepers legs whichever way he is diving, as it did in this case. (more…)